Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved Japan’s lower house of parliament and called for a snap election to “protect Japan” amid tensions with North Korea. Tadamori Oshima, the speaker of the house, read out an official statement of dissolution Thursday, days after Abe had announced the measure. Abe said he was seeking a fresh mandate a year ahead of schedule to overcome a “national crisis” amid a rising threat from Pyongyang. Minutes after dissolving the parliament’s lower house, Abe also said he would seek a public mandate for tougher policies on North Korea. “This will be a tough battle, but it’s all about how we will protect Japan, and the lives and peaceful existence of the Japanese people,” Abe told lawmakers.